POSTED Thu. May 9, 2013
Chris Hannah

Scotch, Scotch, Scotch…I like Scotch. Ok, so it’s Jazz Fest and the town is packed to the point that walking is almost as annoying as driving. Biking is a godsend – except my bike is still locked up at the other side of the Quarter from the night before. My options for getting home? Cab or Streetcar. As cabs are impossible to flag down, I opt for the Streetcar, and so down Bourbon Street I go. And when I get to Canal and Carondolet I remember why I loathe Streetcar rides during Festivals…lines.

People and lines.

While I’m on the corner waiting for the streetcar, keeping my distance from the massive queue, an old-timer walks up to me and asks: Do I need a ride? He explains I look like I’m in the service industry, and as a side hustle during festivals he drives locals home for $10. Cheaper than a cab, so much more comfortable and quicker than the Streetcar—I’m game.

The first thing I like about my decision is this cat’s choice in music—60’s rhythm and blues. The second thing I like about my decision is the first thing he says to me when I get in his car, “do you drink?” I say, “yeah, why?” “Because I have some Crystal Palace Gin,” he says, “you can have some if you like.” and he hands me the plastic bottle. My first drink of the night is a couple pulls from a plastic bottle of cheap gin in a local’s car driving down St. Charles.

It’s obviously he has to pick out locals because why would a tourist ever accept a ride from a stranger at 2am on Canal Street? Ace.

Moving along, and shortly after Lee Circle I begin humming along to Cowboys to Girls, by the Intruders. My driver applauds my “old schoolery.” After offering my being a fan of his music he touts his 60’s R&B compilation and how he’s made several of them to drive around to. When we get to my house I offer to buy it, but he gives it to me…and I’m listening to it right now as I’m writing this. I’m also drinking Scotch.

If all of the above wasn’t enough lagniappe then the present waiting for me when I opened my door certainly sealed it. I won a bet back in January with a Boston bartender friend of mine and he just got around to sending me my winnings: MaCallan. 18 year. Delicious.

It’s a different sort of Jazz Fest story when the kicker is going from Crystal Palace Gin in a plastic bottle to the celebrated MaCallan 18 Year Scotch in a glass, but then everything’s a bit different down here.


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